Electric Thornton

…the expression of a well-made man

appears not only in his face,


It is in his limbs

and joints also,


it is curiously in the joints

of his hips and wrists,


It is

in his walk,


the carriage

of his neck,


the flex of his

waist and knees,


dress does not hide him,

The strong sweet quality he has

strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,


To see him pass

conveys as much as the best poem,

perhaps more,


You linger to see his back,

and the back of his neck

and shoulder-side.


…O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only,

but of the soul, O I say now these are the soul!

from I Sing the Body Electric
by Walt Whitman

18 thoughts on “Electric Thornton

    • I’ve always liked this verse b/c it highlights the sensuality of seemingly unexciting body parts. I’ve always been enticed by things like hands and shoulder-blades and collarbones, paid special attention to how a man walks and the way clothes sit on his body, etc. 😎


      • Totally agree with you! The collarbone is one of my favourite parts. Then there are the armpits (preferably hairy – ok, I know, that won’t go down well), and that enticing little spot by the loins where the hipbone meets this flat bit of flesh… Mind you – I like that on *any* man – not just RA (sorry, man!) 😉


  1. armitagebesotted says:


    I’m trying to not be distracted by the body-part fangirling in the posts above (down, girls, down!) and react, instead to your fabulous, gorgeous use of Walt Whitman’s poem.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’ve made my day.

    Did you realize Leaves of Grass and North & South were published the same year (1855)? I wonder if Whitman and Gaskell read each others’ work.


    • I’ve enjoyed this poem since I first discovered it as a young adult. it taught me to look at each individual part of the human body and recognize it’s beauty apart from the whole, then when you put them all together it’s so much easier to appreciate the natural beauty; very important to a self-conscious teenager 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s